Mon, Aug 17, 2009
Mid-Air Kills 'Russian Knights' Squadron Leader
A mid-air collision between a single-place Su-27 and a two-place
Su-27UB combat trainer Sunday has killed the leader of the Russian
Knights precision aerobatic team. The accident occurred during the
team's final rehearsal for Russia's largest airshow, MAKS 2009, in
the town of Zhukovsky.
Su-27 File Photo
Few details are available about the incident. Witnesses say all
pilots ejected after the planes collided, and ITAR TASS reports the
body of Igor Tkachenko, along with his parachute and ejection seat,
have been found near the village of Zakharikha. The other two
pilots have been found alive, with one of them reported to have
suffered a spinal fracture.
Five people on the ground were reportedly injured, and four
building were damaged when the aircraft impacted the ground.
The aircraft apparently collided about three miles from the
Zhukovsky air field. A Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman said the
likely cause of the accident is pilot error. Both aircraft carry
cockpit voice and data recorders, which authorities say have been
found and will be examined.
Test pilot Anatoly Kvochur told the Russian Vesti TV channel it
is possible that Tkachenko was trying to steer away from a
residential area before ejecting, and that he might have not had
enough altitude for his parachute to deploy.
The opening of the MAKS air exhibition, which is held every two
years near Moscow, was not postponed. The Russian Air Force is
still determining whether The Russian Knights team will bring in
backup aircraft and pilots and perform at the show.
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